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Thanking my parents in a seminar, a once in a lifetime opportunity by Ritu Shivani Suddapalli

When I was asked to speak at the GWTCS & AVS Academy Educational Seminar held recently in Ashburn, VA, I was rather clueless, more than nervous. I felt like I had the time on the stage, but nothing to fill it with. I didn’t know where to start as I cluelessly pressed my pen against the paper, not knowing how to move it. Then I remembered how Mr. Palla told me some ideas that his other students had come up with. I finally felt like I had a very rough template to base my speech on. He gave me multiple ideas about how far and wide the topics for the speeches could be. With those in mind, I started to form a mental image of what my speech was truly going to be like.

As I drove to the event, I finally started feeling butterflies in my stomach. At first, my dad thought I was getting nervous because I was driving, especially in traffic. However, I then explained that I was nervous about my speech. “I have everything in mind,” I explained. “I just don’t think I can piece it together coherently.”

When we arrived at the school, I found my friend, who was also preparing for her speech. I realized that she was very prepared. She even did quite a bit of research to enhance her wording. Her preparation daunted me, as I slowly played with the buttons on my jacket, trying to get myself together. However, that’s when I reminded myself, “Just be yourself. Go up there, say what you want to say, and that’s it.” Finally, it was my turn to go up. Though my voice shook, my point came across quite clearly. I talked about how I was thankful to my parents, and how I appreciated their love and affection towards me all these years. As I finished and stepped down, I took a huge sigh of relief. You did great, I told myself. It was a rewarding experience that taught me a lot about public speaking, and I would never have had it any other way.

Thank You

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